Huguenot Chapel French Pasteur

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

HUGUENOT CHAPEL - French Pasteur

Date: 19th April 2015

Last year at a Huguenot event in Rochester, I met the French Pasteur from the French Church in Soho Square.  As we have no Pasteur at our little Chapel, I asked if he would consider coming down from time to time to take our service.  He kindly agreed and for the last two Sundays we've had the pleasure of having the Service conducted by an ordained Pasteur speaking in the most lovely French - of course.

On the 12th Pasteur Stéphane Desmarais was accompanied by his wife and Pasteur Domique Calla who shared the service with Stéphane.  The latter had recently left his parish in French Guyana and his place was taken by Pasteur Calla.  

Having sent out a couple of dozen emails and nearly as many 'snail-mail' letters to those of the congregation who live closest to Canterbury, we were disappointed that so few turned up.  Like all churches, we suffer from an ageing congregation and no youngsters who might follow in the footsteps of their parents.

I sometimes wonder if it is the fact that the service is conducted in French which puts off many of the Huguenots who possibly don't any longer speak a word of French.  However, because we don't have a Pasteur, the sermon is predominantly given in English by all manner of kind visiting preachers of any denomination.  One of our regulars is a Catholic priest - the delightful Father Malachy.  He is in his 80's and has a wicked sense of humour - I always love his sermons.

My French is far from fluent but my French accent has improved beyond measure just by hearing the repetition of the Liturgy - shame one cannot hold a conversation in Liturgical French!!!!!!

Although far from technically adept, I've managed to persuade the Consistory to upgrade our Website so, with the help of my computer expert, we soon  should have a very much more modern and inter-active Website.  I don't expect it to bring us a larger congregation but at least if anyone anywhere in the world  googles Huguenot or Huguenot Chapel - they will be regaled with a wealth of information.

Can't do much more than that.  

Our French guests joined us for tea at Chom Chom and declared that they'd had a lovely time and were impressed by the warmth of our welcome.

Just an aside - I drove Pasteur Stéphane back to the station and he said he could listen to me all day as I had a lovely voice!!!  The compliment was reciprocated - he too has a delightful speaking voice and enunciates beautifully - necessary for those of us who aren't fluent in the language.  (He didn't know I've spent my entire career 'earning a living' with my voice.

HUGUENOT CHAPEL - French Pasteur

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